Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo by Brian Falkner

How would dinosaurs have affected the course of history assuming they had managed to survive and coexist with man. This is the premise of this great new YA novel by Brian Falkner set in early nineteenth century Europe.

Willem's dad was a magician who was well-known to general Napoleon but fell out of favor with him and the family was forced to flee. Willem now lives in a small, provincial town called Gaillemarde where he goes under an assumed name so no one will know of his family origin. The fruit does not fall far from the tree however and soon he begins to display magical gifts.

Word gets out about this powers and soon Willem finds himself with big decisions to make. His cousin Jean and friend Francois are all young, strong, brave lads but will they be able to fight against the entire French army with the might of gigantic weapons of war behind them?

This novel is not only about senseless violence and there many different themes covered including family love, small town politics and man's relationship with wild creatures. There is some blood and gore in the book so for this reason I will recommend it for ages 11+.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson

Hero-Two-Doors-Down.jpg (1000×1511)

This book is written by Robinson's daughter Sharon and is loosely based on a family friend's experiences with Jackie and his wife in Brooklyn, New York during the time when Jackie played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Told as one long flashback it recounts a year in a young Jewish boy called Steven's life when Jackie's family moved into the neighborhood.

At first there is some opposition to the Robinson family from the current residents, all of whom are Jewish. Steven is surprised when his best friend, a girl called Sena expresses some doubts as well. Thankfully his family, and his father in particular are reasonable adults and are determined not to see the lessons of history repeated.

For Steven however, getting to meet Jackie is perhaps the highlight of his life and their families quickly form a strong friendship and celebrate holidays together another way in which they end up sharing their own unique cultural celebrations.

Recent events in our country have shown that there is still a lot of prejudice and ignorance to combat and that if left unchecked there are people with nefarious intentions who will try to enact legislation to discriminate against any group they dislike. Hopefully through reading books such as this one young kids will see that discrimination in any form is wrong and that when faced with it the right thing to do is to stand up against it. I recommend this book for kids 8+.